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3 season gear list, CO
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J Bailey
(jbaile38) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
3 season gear list, CO on 01/15/2011 20:51:51 MST Print View

Hello All,

This is the gear list I've been using for the last three years, with a few tweaks.

My trips range from 2-7 days with this setup, 3 seasons, solo, mostly in Colorado high country, and largely on trail. I usually get out about 50 nights a year. On trips under 4 days I replace the Lite-Speed pack with a Go Lite VO 24 pack, with ~1200 ci capacity. Other additions are made for off trail travel.

In general, I'm looking for opinions on the list, I feel that the gear is easy to use, ensures I'm well prepared, is flexible enough for true 3 season use (temps above 15F), uses weight and pack space efficiently and that everything there is necessary. I would love to hear any counter-arguments to these points.

Specifically I'm wondering if anyone has any pack recommendations for this kit, the Go Lite packs were chosen for the following reasons:

* Shallow side pockets allow me to replace a water bottle with pack on, while I can't with taller side pockets (short arms).

* Semi-durable fabrics for off trail travel.

* Not too big, as my kit is pretty compact.

* Panel loading. This isn't necessary, but a plus.

* Internal frame on the larger pack results in a nicer carry even if it is unnecessary for the weight.

* The hipbelt pockets are integrated, and can be operated with one hand. Many hipbelt pockets from small gear manufacturers are a bit sloppy because they are attached at 2-3 points, making operation with one hand difficult. I seem to need two hands, one to hold the pocket, and another to open it. I always seem to drop my poles when I do this and it's frustrating. The pockets on the Go Lite packs are fully sewn into the hipbelt, so one handed use is possible.

The other heavy item is the sleeping pad. I used to carry a closed cell foam, but in this case the SUPREME comfort and compact nature of the POE pad trumps the bulky, not as comfortable foam pad.

Thanks for reading, I hope to hear some opinions.


Matthew Zion
(mzion) - F

Locale: Boulder, CO
Pack on 01/15/2011 21:08:24 MST Print View

Think you should be proud of your list. Very similar to what I carry 3 season in CO. Makes me wonder what is wrong with my R1 that isn't a hoody and weighs in at ~12.5 oz. I will however suggest a different pack than the Lite Speed. Lots of options out there for alternatives that would save you anywhere from 10 (packs w/ frames) to 20 (w/o frames) ounces.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
nice list! on 01/15/2011 22:04:07 MST Print View

34 oz is too heavy for a pack for this very light gear list. Find a pack that weighs less than half that.

Get a GoLite JAM and cut stuff off of it. It'll get down to about 18 oz.


My advice, don't worry about hip pockets, cut em off to save weight!

Also - I use an inflatable pad too, but just a torso lenght, and these are around 9 oz.

Do you really go with only 1 pound of food per day? How is that working for you? That is VERY low compared to what others will advocate. I am super impressed!

Matthew Zion
(mzion) - F

Locale: Boulder, CO
1lbs per day on 01/16/2011 00:22:10 MST Print View

1lbs a day is more than enough, especially on weekend/week long trips. I think we all have pretty rich diets and relatively low activity level in our day to day lives so going out for a weekend or a week long trip we have plenty of reserves to burn on. I find a couple Cliffbars (3oz each) and some dehydrated beans and potatoes (~3.5oz mixed at night for both dinner and then breakfast) with tortilla chips for are more than enough to keep my feet moving. All cold so I get to leave stove, fuel and pot at home and just bring an empty KoolAid container to hydrate in.

Chris Benson
(roguenode) - F

Locale: Boulder
Re: 3 season gear list, CO on 01/16/2011 08:23:02 MST Print View

Nice list! I get out to Colorado 3-4 times a year for high-country solo trips and have a few questions that might help me sort out my list.

Any problems with food storage/security only using an opsak?

Are you using found sticks and stones for a trowel?

As for a pack replacement, you might look at an MLD burn. I'm waiting to see what changes/options might be available for 2011 before buying on myself. You may be able to work with Ron and come up with a pocket design that works for you.

J Bailey
(jbaile38) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
thanks for the replies on 01/16/2011 10:09:49 MST Print View

Food - I do go with 1 lb a day, I'm 5'6" and weigh 125 lbs, unless I'm on a long trip I have trouble putting more than 2k cals down. All of the food is calorie dense: probars, enertia trail dinners

Hoody - May be because its a size small, and has been washed so many times it's lost a lot of fiber.

Pack - I agree that this is where work is needed. I can save 8 oz by using a golite peak, but lose an internal frame which makes the carry comfortable. I may look at finding a pack that is close to what I want and modding it. I wish the hip belt pockets weren't important, but being able to access food, sunscreen, and a few small things with the pack on is really nice. If the pack I settle on has a top pocket, I would consider doing without though.

Pad - It is a torso (2/3) length. It inflates to 2.5", hence the weight.

Thanks again.

J Bailey
(jbaile38) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
questions on 01/16/2011 10:15:19 MST Print View

I've not yet had an issue with the op sack. I cook on the trail, an hour or so before camp. Then, I hide the op sack with my food about 100 yards from where I'm sleeping.

I dig catholes with a stick and use sticks, rocks, leaves, to clean up.

Chris Benson
(roguenode) - F

Locale: Boulder
Re: questions on 01/16/2011 12:45:20 MST Print View

Thanks for the information. I, usually carry a single easton nail stake and use it for digging. There are times I know I won't need the stronger stake and may leave it and try using found items.

I had an opsak torn apart camping near treeline last year in the Collegiate range. It cut my trip short and I've since been thinking of an ursack for protection from marmots, etc. when at or above treeline from now on out. However, I'm not sure if I just got unlucky and could do without it. In my previous half-dozen or so trips in similar conditions I never had a problem.

Eric Swab

Locale: Rockies
3 season gear list, CO on 01/18/2011 20:38:43 MST Print View

Nice gear list, Do you always go without rain gear? Do you ever find you need more insulation or bottom protection? Last year was my first in Colorado and I have been carrying either rain pants or a lower baselayer depending on the forecast, but have not used them.

Do you have enough confidence in the Opsacks that you do not even hang your food?

I seem to do fine with 1 to 1.25 pounds of food a day too.


J Bailey
(jbaile38) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: 3 season gear list, CO on 01/18/2011 21:46:44 MST Print View

The tarp is a poncho tarp, long enough that it comes down to mid calf. Added bonus that I can put it on over my pack, so I don't need a liner/cover. I do worry that I'll lose footing during a river crossing and wet out my down without a liner. To combat this I wrap the down gear inside my seam sealed bivy, drybag style. While it isn't waterproof, it should prevent a soaking if I take a quick dunk.

I've yet to have a problem with the op sack, though I am aware that it is a risk. I'm never more than a long day's hike from bailing out if I need to, hopefully it never happens. I carry all prepackaged foods which I believe may cut down on the smells too. I seal my trash in a separate, smaller, op sack, which gets stashed inside the larger sack.

I tried to bring 1.5 lbs per day when I attempted the Colorado Trail. I just couldn't put that much down, and moved down to 1 lb after my 2nd resupply.

Edited by jbaile38 on 01/18/2011 21:49:12 MST.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
1 pound of food per day! on 01/18/2011 22:26:55 MST Print View

Right on!

Your low food weight is enviable.

I have gotten as low as 1.4 pounds per day, and if I go lower - I find myself getting hungry.

THis is good to know, because I see TOO MANY CAMPERS loading up with too much food. Upwards of 2 Pounds per Day, and they end up coming out with leftovers.

I'm shocked that lightweight hikers will cut doo-dads off their backpack, but then they'll toss in food without any effort at all to even quantify what they are taking.

Well done!
I'm impressed!

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"3 season gear list, CO" on 01/18/2011 22:43:06 MST Print View

I'm shocked that lightweight hikers will cut doo-dads off their backpack, but then they'll toss in food without any effort at all to even quantify what they are taking.

I put in the effort to lower my pack weight so I can afford the room to bring along a quantifiable amount of extra food and snacks! Am I the only one? ;)

Troy Childs
(tchilds) - F
Re: 3 season gear list, CO on 02/21/2011 00:06:15 MST Print View

What year is your skaha plus? I was looking into one based on your weight listed but they advertise a medium w/hood around 3-4oz above your listed weight. Are you wearing an XS w/missing down or am I missing something here?

I would be peeved if my $300 sweater came several ounces under filled. I assumed based on the price they're top notch. I'm looking at replacing my cheapo down vest with something along these lines but am wondering if they're worth it now. Are you happy with yours?

Edited by tchilds on 02/21/2011 00:09:13 MST.

Brian Lindahl
(lindahlb) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: 3 season gear list, CO on 06/30/2011 23:34:28 MDT Print View

Have you actually tested this down to 15 degrees? From my experiences, a 40 degree bag with no extra leg insulation will make extremely cold feet and legs and would be unbearable to sleep in at those temperatures, even if you have a big puffy coat. On top of that 9oz of fill is barely a 25 degree bag. I'd say that's a good 30 degree kit you have with a 5 degree buffer in case temps get colder than expected, which is basically 1.5 seasons in Colorado (summer + warm fall/spring). The Ether Thermo is very aggressively rated, as well. I've found the similar Big Agnes IAC to be extremely cold at 15 degrees. Also, the Arc Edge is really narrowly cut. How much is your Skaha compressing when you are using it inside your bag?

In addition, I don't see how you can do 4 days of cooking on 3oz of alcohol at 25 degree temps with wind without a windscreen. Have you actually done this?

Toothbrush, Dr. Bronners AND Sunscreen in 0.25oz? That doesn't look right at all. What are you packaging it in? The lightest minidroppers I know weigh at least 0.05oz each. That leaves 0.15oz for toothbrush, soap and sunscreen for 4 days in Colorado? In Colorado high-country, where you're above treeline a lot, you can go through sunscreen pretty quickly. I find I need to reapply at least once throughout the day in summer.

Based on my experiences I'd suggest wearing a LS half-zip merino shirt and dropping the R1 hoody and picking up some insulated pants.
* The R1 hoody is winter-gear - I've never needed more than a LS merino shirt and a windshirt when on the move when there are forecasted 15 degree lows.
* Roll up the sleeves and unzip and you effectively have the same as a short sleeve t-shirt.
* The insulated pants MIGHT allow you to hit 15 degree lows. You should be able to get to at least 25 degrees, probably 20 degrees.
* A LS merino shirt may save when you run out of sunscreen, where otherwise you'd be absolutely roasting in an R1 or a wind shirt.
* This will save you about 5oz (WM flash pants are ~6oz in x-small).

A better pad would be the NeoAir coupled with a CCF (strap to pack). Same weight, much warmer, and backup in case your pad pops and you're left without ground insulation.

No camera? Our state is amazingly beautiful, I can't imagine not taking one, especially if you're in the high country - but to each his own.

Anyway.. I'd hate to see you using this kit when you get stuck in a surprise storm that lasts into the evening with lows in the upper teens. Your lack of leg insulation and rain protection is putting you at risk for hypothermia, IMO.

Edited by lindahlb on 06/30/2011 23:43:50 MDT.